A NIGHT INSIDE THE GREAT PYRAMID 69
ascent to the place of my vigil. AH the legends of evil ghosts who haunt the areas around the Pyramids, came back to memory with the same unpleasant detail with which they had been related by Arabs in the village not far off. When I had told a young Arab friend there of my intention to spend a night in the old building, he had tried to dissuade me.
"Every inch of ground is haunted/* had been his warning. "There is an army of ghosts and genii in that territory."
And now I could see that his warning was not a vain one. Spectral figures had begun to creep into and around the dark room wherein I sat, and the undefinable feeling of uneasiness which earlier had seized me was now receiving fit and full justification. Somewhere in the centre of that still thing which was my body, I knew that my heart beat like a hammer under the strain of it all. The dread of the supernatural, which lurks at the bottom of every human heart, touched me again. Fear, dread, horror persistently presented their evil visages to me in turn. Involuntarily my hands clenched themselves as tightly as a vice. But I was determined to go on, and although these phantom forms that moved across the room began by stirring in me a sense of alarm, they ended by provoking me to summon whatever reserves of courage and combativeness I could muster.
My eyes were closed and yet these grey, gliding, vaporous forms obtruded themselves across my vision. And always there came with them an implacable hostility, an ugly determination to deter me from my purpose.
A circle of antagonistic beings surrounded me. It would have been easy to end it all by switching on the light or by leaping up and dashing out of the chamber and running back a few hundred feet to the locked grille-entrance, where the armed guard would have provided gregarious comfort. It was an ordeal which imposed a subtle form of torture, that harried the soul and left the body untouched. Yet something inside me intimated just as implacably that I must see this thing through.
At last the climax came. Monstrous elemental creations, evil horrors of the underworld, forms of grotesque, insane, uncouth and fiendish aspect gathered around me and afflicted me with unimaginable repulsion. In a few minutes I lived through something which will leave a remembered record behind for all time. That incredible scene remains vividly photographed